Volunteering might look a bit different right now. With social distancing measures still in place, volunteer opportunities in your area have likely changed. But there’s no doubt that great causes in your community still need help. And volunteering opportunities are still available online and in-person while following safety precautions. 

You might want to consider skills-based volunteering to help a non-profit that is close to your heart. It can also give you the opportunity to build your professional portfolio and LinkedIn profile.  

What is skills-based volunteering?

Skills-based volunteering is when you use specialized skills or talents to help a non-profit organization with their charitable cause. Whether you’re a photographer, engineer, copywriter or chef, your unique skills can help others.  

For example, most charities rely on communications materials and campaigns to raise money and awareness of their causes. Non-profit staff often wear many hats and take on a handful of roles to help the charitable cause. Most don’t have the budget for a robust marketing department, and hiring external creative agencies can be pricey. In this case, a volunteer marketing or communications professional could be a big help.  

Skills-based volunteer programs help lower costs, and allow staff to focus on their core roles. This helps the organization work closer to the charitable cause.   

How can you find volunteer opportunities?

Start by reflecting on what matters to you most, and what skills you want to share with an organization.  

You can learn about Canadian charities by visiting Canada Revenue Agency’s charities and giving page.   

Then, you can call or email the organization to offer what you could do. Chances are they could use your expertise. They may also have volunteer positions posted on their website that you could ask about or apply for.  

What are 3 ways you can volunteer your skills?

  1. Volunteer online. Virtual volunteering is safe and can be done wherever you live. Consider using Volunteer Canada to help find opportunities. 
  2. Join a skill-based volunteer program. A good place to start is with EndeavourThis Canadian charity matches volunteers with non-profits that need consultant services. You can also cold-call your local charity to see what skills-based options they have.  
  3. Just ask. Not all volunteer opportunities are posted online. If you have an idea, reach out to a non-profit you’re interested in and propose an idea.  

Which skills can you offer as a volunteer? 

Non-profits often look for volunteers with skills such as: 

  • Marketing,
  • Public relations/communications, 
  • Graphic design, 
  • Fundraising,
  • Technology, 
  • Strategic planning/management, and 
  • HR and leadership development. 

If your skills aren’t on this list, don’t worry. You can help a non-profit make a difference in your community. Different organizations have different needs.  

What if you don’t have time to volunteer? 

If time isn’t on your side to volunteer, perhaps you can make a charitable donation instead? There are many registered charities in Canada that help under-represented ethnicities and communities. You can visit the Government of Canada’s “List of charities” page. There, you can find an organization with a cause that you can help financially.   

Are you unsure how much you can afford to give? Consider speaking with an advisor. An advisor can help you find out what works best for your ability to give.